Problems Among Missionaries on the Field

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by MikeinGhana, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    Before I even started deputation back in 1991 I was told that the number one problem missionaries face on the foreign field is interpersonal relationships with other missionaries. Having been one for quite a while now I can see where this could be true. Fortunately for me, my partner is now my former pastor. Before he became my partner we were good frinds and spent time together both socially and spiritually. It has worked out well for me. Has there been any problems with the rest of you guys and gals out there? Is this as bad as "they" say or is it overblown

    Edited only to correct typo in header

    [ December 04, 2005, 09:48 AM: Message edited by: C4K ]
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    We have encountered a few challanges in interpersonal relationship with other missionaries since we have been here.
     
  3. Mexdeaf

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    I have found that I can get along with about anyone who wants to be gotten along with. Most of the time there is problems, it involves either baggage from back home (the KJV, standards, etc...) or just plain ole pride.

    A friend of a friend down here was (he has since gone to be with the Lord) a sold-out KJV man sent out from Ruckman's church and school. But he was also one of the most gentle and humble men of God (and I use that term respectfully) I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Although my friend is not any fan of Ruckman, the departed brother was never antagonistic about their different viewpoints and they traveled together many times through the years.

    Psalm 133:1- Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
     
  4. bruren777

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    Hi Mexdeaf,
    Wow, thats awesome. That is true Christian love, to have differences and still be on speaking terms.
     
  5. Ulsterman

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    Problems? What problems? How can you have a problem with people you have nothing to do with!

    In truth, if many missionaries (and pastors) would apply their own sermons on conflict resolution, forgiveness, grace and reconciliation to themselves the vineyard would be a much happier and healthier place.

    Sometimes I think God calls some men into the ministry because he knows they (we) would make lousy church members!!
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Wow, Ulsterman, what brought that on? I've known some bad apples among missionaries, and I've not always gotten along with a couple of my brother missionaries, but 95% of the missionaries I know are sold out to Christ, dedicated to the Word of God and their churches, trying to grow in the Lord, and delighting in serving the Savior.

    Sure we have our differences with other missionaries, but I believe far fewer differences than most Christians. [​IMG]
     
  7. MikeinGhana

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    Do you all think that being in such an isolated situation forces us to either get along and forgive and forget - OR - Does it add even more pressure and cause problems among us?
     
  8. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    You would think that the isolation would draw us closer together, but I don't think it does. After a while we get accustomed to the isolation and it is no longrr a factor.

    There is no excuse for the kind of behaviour manifested amongst some men in the ministry. I just preached through James 4v1-6 where the Lord points out the REAL reasons for the "wars and fightings" amongst us.

    There are two sources for the divisive spirit that we allow to creep in, Satan and our won prideful flesh.
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    C4K, I do think, however, that there is a mutual respect between veteran missionaries akin to that of combat veterans. I have great regard for anyone who has made it through the great test of deputation, their first term, and then head back to the field after furlough.

    Those of us who have "been there, done that," know that it takes the grace of God. I have made extremely close friends among fellow missionaries both here in Japan and on other fields. I remember seeing Jim from Thailand on furlough a few years back. We hadn't seen each other since being on deputation together, but the bonding was instant. I'm sure it will be that way with us next time our furloughs coincide, as it has been to an extent on the BB (as much as you can bond on the Internet). [​IMG]
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    I agree John - even the short time we met God established a bond - I was excited to see you sign up here and I Look forward to meeting again.

    In spite of the differences I do agree that there is a special bond. Hard times and difficulties draw us together. I was recently at a preacher's fellowship where men attended that had had conflicts in the the past. In was a blessing to see spirits softening and these (us) men fellowshipping together. The longer the battle goes in the closer I think we draw together.
     
  11. MikeinGhana

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    I have to admit, the way I was treated after my first term and during my first furlough was entirely different than when I first started. I was a bit older when I started deputation so that helped a little. I always had a hard time with young whipper snappers fesh out of school that had all the answers. Many times these type of guys really cause trouble on the field.

    Do you suppose that it takes a bit of self sufficiency to make it through deputation and thus, that trait lends itself to these problems? Or is it just pure and simple carnaility?
     
  12. bapmom

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    goodness Ulsterman, I think you must have read something wrong..... [​IMG]

    I know in our churches here, the core of people who are always the ones doing the work can sometimes be around each other so much that we get on each other's nerves. I take it that's oftentimes much enhanced on the mission field?

    I think thats one reason we are here in Milwaukee. This church has a "mission field" type mentality, and we certainly do have moments when we have been around the same few people so much that we just can't stand it any longer...lol

    But we have learned to work through those moments (somewhat) and realize that they are only a moment in time. We don't want to affect our relationships permanently for a momentary conflict.

    Our pastor reminds us not to forget "everybody's having a hard time....."

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Mexdeaf

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    By my limited experience (7 years on the field) there are a LOT more conflicts between missionaries and nationals than there are between missionaries themselves.

    But, I am 2 hours from the nearest missionary of like faith and practice, so it's not like we see each other every day- more like once a week because I drive over there every Saturday to teach in their Bible Institute.
     
  14. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    I am aware of some specific situations that Ulsterman is also aware of. From that perspective the comments are justified.
     
  15. Ulsterman

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    Sorry, my last post seems to have come across stronger than I intended. I didn't mean to suggest all or even most missionaries are "bad apples", far from it. But I have encountered a number who are unwilling to let go of past differences, and who do not and will not fellowship, hiding sometimes under the cloak of Biblical separation, and at other times polite toleration.

    At present I work closely with two truly great missionaries whom I love dearly in the Lord and who exhibit a wonderful Christlike spirit.

    Like C4K said we both have experience of unnecessary missionary division in Ireland. And even here in England some missionaries will not fellowship with each other because of mission board politics, and petty differences.
     
  16. MikeinGhana

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    Do any of you missionaries sense a spirit of competition on your field? I have seen missionaries who have visitors come over and they just about hide them from other missionaries. Like they do not want them to see any one else on the field. What's up with that?

    Is there the idea that these guys do not want visitors to see what others are doing for fear of being judged?
     
  17. Mexdeaf

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    Mike,

    I seriously have never heard of that happening before, although I don't doubt it. Sounds like just plain ole pride or jealousy to me.
     
  18. John of Japan

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    Mike, I never heard of that happening between missionaries, but there is a Japanese pastor I know on our island who has a grudge against a missionary (not me ;) ) and does this when Japanese preachers come to his church.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    I have had real problems with fellow missionaries only twice. The first time was not with individual missionaries but with the field council of another IFB board. I taught in their Bible institute, but was then not allowed to have the graduates candidate in my church. Each of the field council members were good friends, some of who I went to college with. But get them together in a field council.... :(

    The other time was with co-workers in our church. This is when you have the most potential for problems, as we can see from Paul and Barnabas and their little tiff. We prayed for 13 years for co-workers in Yokohama and never got any. After we moved up here a family finally came to work with us, and in many ways it was wonderful.

    However, I had been told by an older, wiser missionary before we formed a team that the biggest problem would be if there were differences in child-rearing methods. Boy was that on target!!

    The family was only with us a couple of years to gain experience, since they wanted to start their own work. To make a long story short, the kids were climbing on the church furniture and my wife and I were climbing the walls! :mad:
     

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